We Have Cookies!

Sweet Potato Cookies

Some of the sweet potato cookies. Sales will support the Sweet Potato Project, a program developed to teach “at-risk” kids entrepreneurial skills they can put to use in their own neighborhoods.

 Many thanks to Reine Bayoc, our volunteers and donors for whom it would have been impossible to develop a product out of the produce grown by youth with the Sweet Potato Project. Ms. Bayoc, who created a sweet potato pancake mix came to our aid once again with a delicious cookie recipe in time for the holidays.

A special “thank you” to Rev. Rodney Francis, executive director of the Youth & Family center for allowing us to use the facilities to bake and package the cookies.

Preparing the cookies for sale would not have been possible if not for the time and effort of our generous volunteers including the “Wonder Women” from the Spirit of the Lord Family Church.

The youth are busy updating the website they helped create during the summer phase of our program. In a couple of days, you will be able to place orders cookies and holiday trays online. You can contact us now (314-341-4071) for individual and group orders. We are planning another community “bake day” next week to make more cookies for anticipated sales.

Volunteers receive instructions from Reine Bayoc, creator of the sweet potato cookie recipe.

Volunteers and Sweet Potato project youth receive instructions from Reine Bayoc, creator of the sweet potato cookie recipe.

Preparing the cookies for sale would not have been possible if not for the time and effort of our generous volunteers including the “Wonder Women” from the Spirit of the Lord Family Church.The youth are busy updating the website they helped create during the summer phase of our program. In a couple of days, you will be able to place orders for cookies and holiday trays online. You can contact us now (314-341-4071) for individual and group orders. Cookies are priced at $6 for a package of four homemade cookies and $8 for a package of six.   Within the next two weeks youth will receive additional training to boost their individual and group selling skills. Although proceeds from sales go toward program development, the student’s encouraging entrepreneurial skills are encouraged by the percentage they receive from their individual sales.

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Bayoc and volunteers prepare cookies

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Sweet Potato Project Youth pasting labels and preparing cookie packages

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A special “thank you” to Roderick Woodruff for designing the Sweet Potato Cookie logo, Benjamin Gandhi-Shepard for helping the youth develop their website and all our donors, volunteer instructors and generous supporters.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes later, Sweet Potato Cookies NOW

Bagged SPP Cookies

Saturday, Dec. 8th: Volunteers needed to help bake and package sweet potato cookies for the holidays

Keon and Charnel

This summer, the North Area Community Development Corporation (NACDC), working with When We Dream Together, Inc., introduced the Sweet Potato Project. The goal of the program is to teach “at risk” youth entrepreneurial skills and show them that they have viable, legal and constructive ways to generate income in their own neighborhoods. To that end, we had 15 youth plant sweet potatoes with an aim to turn the produce into a product that they would sell to family members, churches, civic organizations and other supportive individuals. The youth were paid a bi-weekly stipend and were provided lessons on leadership, team-building, marketing, branding, product development and were shown how to design their own website. They came up with several sweet potato-based products. The one we felt was most marketable was a sweet potato-based pancake mix. Reine Bayoc, who co-owns SweetArt bakeshop and art studio graciously created a sweet potato pancake recipe but, unfortunately, we weren’t able to secure a major manufacturer to create and produce the mix for us in time for holiday sales.

Reine Bayoc, co-owner of SweetArts developed Sweet Potato Pancake mix recipe. (Photo courtesy of the RFT)

Reine Bayoc, co-owner of SweetArts developed Sweet Potato Pancake mix recipe. (Photo courtesy of the RFT)

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Bayoc has once again came to our rescue with a delicious sweet potato cookie recipe. This Saturday, Dec. 8th, Bayoc will work with our youth to bake the cookies. NACDC will help the youth sell their creation up until the Christmas holidays. Like a real company, our youngsters will be paid for their work and receive a percentage of what they sell.

We would not have had the success we did this summer without a cadre of caring and engaged instructors, mentors and donators. The Sweet Potato Project has been a grassroots effort from the start and will continue to be as wrap up the year and prepare to expand the program in 2013. This week, however, we’re issuing a call-out for help with the baking and packaging of holiday cookies. We need about 30 individuals to help in the kitchen and in preparing the packages of cookies. Immediately, like within the next few days, we can use those with expertise in product sales, pricing, order forms and online sales.

NACDC’s staffers and supporters will meet for this Saturday, starting at 10am at the Youth and Family Center at 818 Cass Avenue / St. Louis, MO 63106. (CLICK HERE FOR MAP) Please email me to confirm your participation and/or for more details.

Imagine the sense of empowerment our youth will have as they promote and sell a product they created. The potential and possibilities of this effort is tremendous. Many of you can take pride in the fact that you helped create a program that offers viable opportunities for kids growing up in areas were hope and opportunity are rarities. Let’s keep it up. Join us this Saturday. — Sincerely, Sylvester Brown, Jr.

For more details or to volunteer send an email to sylvesterbj@gmail.com